After months of speculation, the kicks with the 3D-printed sole are getting a limited-edition release in the US.
Last April, Adidas announced a new sneaker that it claimed, rather boldly, marked the dawn of a new era of sneaker manufacturing. Since then, however, the Adidas Futurecraft 4D has been nothing more than a concept car—meaning it has never been made available to the public. The sneakers, which feature a Primeknit upper but a 3D-printed sole (one made through a futuristic combo of light, lasers, and plastic we don’t entirely understand), have been coveted by sneakerheads, but have remained untouchable. Until now, that is. Next week Adidas is dropping the Futurecraft 4D at just three stores in the United States.
Like the version that came out in 2017, these running shoes feature a black and mint green color combo that puts the emphasis their new-wave, web-like sole. Also like the originals, these sneakers are still merely a teaser of what could be a radically different way to buy sneakers in the near future. This Futurecraft 4D is made with a one-size-fits-all sole like any other shoe, but ultimately, Adidas wants to use its 3D printing technology to mold soles for each and every customer, ensuring an optimal fit for all while also reducing waste.
It sounds nuts, but it might not be such a lofty idea. Late last year, Adidas opened its new Speedfactory outside of Atlanta, Georgia. The opening created about 160 jobs for “upskilled” workers, but also consists of kinds of robots capable of turning out sneakers at a record clip. For now, that means it takes several weeks from design to completed sneaker—practically nothing compared to the months the process usually takes. Once Adidas gets that time down to days or a few hours to custom-fit soles to customers, things will start to get truly interesting. For now, the Adidas Futurecraft 4D is just the sign of what’s to come—and a really cool-looking sign at that.
$300, buy on January 18 at Kith